Does it not seem that December always finds a way to creep up on us? The slow November days of gray skies and poppy-marked pea coats quickly turn into the fervid hustle and bustle of the holiday season. And suddenly, with presents to buy, dinners to plan, and errands to run, we’re bombarded with the intensive holiday offering of fun things to do in Vancouver. From the lights at Van Dusen Gardens, to the Vancouver Christmas Market, to ice skating at Grouse Mountain, we are unbearably time-scarce.
If I had to make one recommendation of all the places to visit in Vancouver during the holidays, Granville Island would be at the top of my list. It’s exactly as it always is – the sights, smells, and sounds of the Public Market, the allure of Edible Canada – yet, it’s also very different. Christmas hangs from every light post, illuminating the island with holiday sparkle. The market is alive with people procuring the best ingredients for a holiday meal. The vendors are donned with Santa hats and mistletoe. Shoppers peruse the stores with a keen eye, hoping to find that perfect gift for their special someone. You cannot help but enjoy the jovial spirit of the holidays – it’s flooding through the island!
There are places to visit in Vancouver that transform for the holidays, dedicating their whole experience to the occasion. Yet, I love that Granville Island maintains it’s functional character, while providing a fun Christmas atmosphere. It’s non-intimidating in that you can have a holiday experience, while still checking a few things off your Christmas list! After shopping in the market and perusing in the shops, there is a not-so-secret sanctuary that deserves a spot on your agenda. Stop by the Granville Island Brewery for snack and a craft beer tasting.
As Canada’s first micro-brewery, GIB has certainly become a local icon. They’ve been making beer for over 30 years and pride themselves on their West-Coast flavours. The brewery and tasting room are separated only by glass walls, which create a unique and rustic getaway. In their little retail shop, encompassed in the same building, you’ll find a variety of unique beer-themed gifts. Highlights include: beer soap, phone cases with a built-in bottle opener, and customizable six packs!
If you haven’t tried it before, it’s a lot of fun to taste beer side-by-side. My favourite part of the GIB experience is the tasting map that the beer is served on – you can refer to the flavour descriptions and truly appreciate the complexity of each brew! If you’re up for a challenge, get a friend to mix up beers on the tasting map – it’s an exciting adventure to see if you can drink your way back!